Review by Catfish0
"The Minish Cap, another classic GBA title"
The new Game Boy Advance Zelda game, the Minish cap, was first unveiled at E3 this year and has arrived in Europe a full 3 months earlier than the US in surprisingly short amount of time. The last original portable Zelda games were the oracle of seasons and ages, which were released a good while ago, and so we find ourselves with a new Zelda adventure.
The Minish cap has a surprisingly good story line for a game boy Zelda game. The game starts where Link, the main character in every Zelda game so far, wakes up on the day of the Picori festival. The Picori are tiny people that live in Hyrule but can only be seen by children. When the world was in danger from a terrible evil the Picori crafted a sword for the hero of Hyrule to vanquish it. The sword was kept in Hyrule castle to cast away the evil and stop it from returning. It may sound like any other Zelda plot however it does get more interesting. Link goes to the festival with princess Zelda who has been Link's childhood friend. A fighting tournament is held and the winner can touch the sword. Vatti, an evil sorcerer wins but he destroys the sword to release the evil on to the world. The sorcerer turns princess Zelda into stone and Link, being a child is chosen to take the sword back the Picori to be repaired. On his way there he finds a hat called Elzo who he befriends and turns out can shrink him to the size of the Picori. Elzo also reveals that the Picori are actually called the Minish and so they go off to find the Minish and repair the blade. It does actually work as a very good story and without spoiling anything does develop very well.
The game plays very well emulating the styles of the precious oracle games and awakening of link. There are two command slots at the top right hand corner of the screen where items can be set to the A and B buttons and used. Many items from the previous games return such as the boomerang and of course the sword but there are many more items that add originality such as the mole mitts acting like a shovel but also allow Link to dig tunnels at selected places. If you've played any of the previous games this will be nothing new. For first time players it wont take long to get used to and will become automatic switching between items.
A new element to the Zelda series is king stones. These are split stones that you will find throughout the game and be able to combine with other characters to activate events like a beanstalk growing a chest appearing somewhere else in the game. When you actually fuse king stones by pressing L a menu will appear showing the person and their King stone. There are 3 colours of King stone, green the most common, blue the uncommon ones and red the slightly more rare ones. They come in 3 shapes that slot together with others. Once you have fused a king stone successfully there will be a little animation of what happens and the game will show you where on the map it happened. The king stone system works very well and activates sub-quests. There are 100 fusions or so that you can make in the game and finding them all can be time consuming but fun.
In the Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker there was the Nintendo Gallery where you could take pictures and have them turned into sculptures. Minish cap has a similar system where by you can obtain sculptures through mysterious shells. These like king stones are found all through the game but the purpose isn't revealed until you reach the building in the bottom left hand corner of Hyrule town. The man who made the sculptures in the Wind Waker returns but this time instead of taking pictures you gamble shells. When I say gamble I mean as though it is a kind of lottery. You put in a certain amount of shells and it tells you the probability of getting a new sculpture. There are 136 sculptures to collect so collecting the shells can take a while but its something to do off from the main story of the game.
Overall the game play is brilliant and very reminiscent of the older Zelda titles.
The graphics are brilliant in this game; they are very similar to that of the Four Swords adventure that was included in the remake of a Link to the Past but slightly improved. The game runs very smoothly and in parts can take your breath away at the capacity of the Game Boy Advance, easily one of the best looking games on the system.
The same Zelda tunes playing away in the background are impressive but there is always that little static you get with GBA games that almost ruins it. The sound files of link slashing away at his sword are used again and previously seen in the remake of a Link to the Past.
The problem like Wind Waker is that its just over too soon even with the king stones and the sculptures its just not enough to keep you going, I myself found that I came to the end far too quickly, fortunately the replay value is very good if you enjoy Zelda games you can keep coming back again and again but then again if you have done everything on your first play it can seem a bit empty.
Legend of Zelda the Minish cap is a classic title, which is desperately needed on the GBA due to the lack on new titles recently. If you are a US gamer, the game doesn't come out until January however there are a few extra features in the US version. If you can't stand loosing those features then wait but otherwise I would import it as quickly as possible, you wont be disappointed.
I don't know anywhere you can rent GBA games but it is a definite buy for everyone this year, PAL or US gamer.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/30/04
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